Rian Johnson Unveils First Look Photo For ‘Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery’

Rian Johnson Unveils First Look Photo For ‘Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery’

Benoit Blanc returns in his most dangerous case yet. Production has begun in London on Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery, the third film featuring the celebrated, Southern-fried detective created by writer/director Rian Johnson and played by Daniel Craig. The new installment is produced by Johnson and producer Ram Bergman’s production company T-Street.

We first met Blanc in 2019’s Knives Out, when he was hired to investigate the death of bestselling author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). In that film, Blanc teamed up with nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) to uncover the truth in a twisted case filled with angry relatives, red herrings, and fabulous knitwear.

Blanc’s skills were called upon once more in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, when he headed to Greece to peel back the layers of intrigue surrounding tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and an eclectic group of disruptors. Blanc was last seen sitting on the beach of Bron’s estate on an idyllic Greek island, calmly pondering the chaotic events of his past few days. But the fiery ending of Glass Onion could also be seen as a beginning — to the master sleuth’s next chapter.

This time around will see Blanc unraveling a brand-new murder mystery in an as-yet-undisclosed setting, surrounded by a colorful new cast of suspects. Read on to investigate further.

What is Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery about?

Details about Blanc’s next case remain tightly buried — perhaps in the coffin prominently featured in the film’s brief teaser. A pensive Blanc describes it in voice-over as being his “most dangerous case yet,” so all we can do is hope for his continued safety. Are there any hints to be gathered elsewhere? “I love everything about whodunnits, but one of the things I love most is how malleable the genre is,” Johnson posted on X in a thread announcing the film’s new title. “There’s a whole tonal spectrum from Carr to Christie, and getting to explore that range is one of the most exciting things about making Benoit Blanc movies.” This isn’t the first time Johnson has sung the praises of Christie and his other whodunnit influences; you can catch up with his Glass Onion reading guide right here.

Who’s in the cast of Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery?

As with Knives Out and Glass Onion, Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is joined by a robust — and all new — cast of suspects in Wake Up Dead Man. In the past, Johnson has described his casting approach as akin to “throwing a dinner party.” He built his murderers’ row of suspects for Wake Up Dead Man in much the same way. “We’ve been very lucky with each of these movies to have gathered some of my favorite actors on the planet, and that’s absolutely the case here,” Johnson tells Tudum. “They’re also all lovely folks who get along, which is the dinner party aspect of it. When you’re making an ensemble movie like this, I think that’s key.”

This particular dinner party includes the following:

* Daniel Craig (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Casino Royale)

* Josh O’Connor (Challengers, The Crown)

* Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction)

* Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, Dune)

* Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Luckiest Girl Alive)

* Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town)

* Kerry Washington (Scandal, Django Unchained)

* Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers, Ripley)

* Cailee Spaeny (Civil War, Priscilla)

* Daryl McCormack (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande; Peaky Blinders)

* Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Spider-Man 3)

You may recall that Jeremy Renner’s “Renning Hot” habanero chili pepper sauce played a prominent role in Glass Onion. However, this time, Renner himself will appear — and not just on a hot sauce label. “Jeremy’s a great actor who I’ve wanted to work with for a long time,” Johnson says. “I was very relieved he thought the hot sauce thing was funny! He’s playing a proper part in this one, we’ll keep the sauce off-screen. Maybe we’ll sneak a few bottles onto the catering table.”

What does the title Wake Up Dead Man mean?

The first Knives Out drew its name from a Radiohead song, while Glass Onion drew its titular inspiration from the Beatles’ song of the same name. So where does the title of this third Knives Out Mystery spring from?  As it turns out, Wake Up Dead Man shares its title with a 1997 U2 song off their album Pop. “Pop is a very underrated album, and that song is very right for the title,” Johnson tells us. “But I’ve had ‘Wake Up Dead Man’ in my head for a long while, and I first heard the phrase in American folk music.” Feel free to listen closely for any possible clues.

When will Wake Up Dead Man be on Netflix? Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery is coming to Netflix globally in 2025.

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